Decoupling Wireless Protocols From Chips

Andrew Froehlich, Network Engineer & IT Consultant | 7/31/2012 | 27 comments

Andrew Froehlich
LTE, WiFi, Bluetooth, NFC -- all of these wireless technologies are wonderful and useful in their own way. Unfortunately, they're incompatible with one another.

Mobile devices require unique wireless chips for every wireless protocol they use. And if a new wireless technology rolls around, it almost always includes the need to upgrade to a different piece of hardware. This is not only cost prohibitive, it also slows new wireless protocols from catching on more rapidly. But tying wireless protocols to specific hardware chips may soon be a thing of the past. And the ease of faster adoption to more advanced wireless protocols may mean the elimination of frequent wireless hardware upgrades simply to move to the next generation of wireless protocols.

A company called Per Vices has recently introduced new software-defined radio technology to eliminate the need for costly upgrades. The concept is simple as the goal would be that user end devices would be required to house a single wireless transmitter and receiver. Today, my smartphone has four wireless chips -- one for cellular, one for WiFi, and two for personal area network (PAN) connectivity. That's really not efficient as a single radio chip could in theory handle all these functions simultaneously.

Additionally, most cellular chips in phones are hard wired to only operate over anywhere from one to four cellular frequencies, depending on the chipset. So when you want to use your phone in a different country or even with a different wireless carrier, it may not be compatible. But if a chip could be software programmable to transmit at different frequencies on the fly, your formally locked-in phone suddenly becomes universal. This would open up all kinds of possibilities for companies in terms of world compatibility and the ability to move from one carrier to another.

I've written in the past about new and emerging WiFi technologies and the difficulties that come along with those upgrades. I have also performed multiple enterprise upgrades, going from 802.11b to 802.11g, and finally to the latest generation of 802.11n hardware. Each time, the wireless access points and the wireless end devices required hardware upgrades in order to take advantage of the latest and greatest protocol.

It's interesting to think of a future where new wireless protocols could be upgraded with a simple software update. And just as intriguing would be the ability to move from one cellular frequency to the next, completely eliminating carrier operating frequency restrictions. Companies such as Per Vices are really onto a technology that would be immediately useful in one regard and incredibly cost conscious in another. That's a win-win combination that should interest all of us.

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soozyg   Decoupling Wireless Protocols From Chips   8/2/2012 11:29:38 AM
Re: Better experience in communication
I agree with David.

Companies such as Per Vices are really onto a technology that would be immediately useful in one regard and incredibly cost conscious in another.

It's a nice idea....but the cell companies don't necessarily want to make life more affordable for the masses--at least they don't act like it. If anything, they continue to try to skewer people (make money) wherever possible.
eethtworkz   Decoupling Wireless Protocols From Chips   8/1/2012 12:40:05 PM
Re: Better experience in communication

So how do you see things panning out here?

Lets say Landline companies stop providing services in all but the Densest parts of the country;what happens next?

Do consumers rebel and take companies to court?

Can they win?

Its a well known fact that in most of the Interior/sparsely populated parts of America,Wireless services are not very good/patchy and so if you force these consumers to use patchy Wireless services ;I don't think they are gonna taking it too kindly.

What do you feel?


eethtworkz   Decoupling Wireless Protocols From Chips   8/1/2012 12:36:43 PM
Re: Better experience in communication

I understand.

But the if you look at your Socio-Economic Status;you and your family are reasonably well to do(in what is known as the Middle Class) and in the Prime of your Earning years.

In contrast look at someone who has just retired and has to survive on Fixed Incomes.For such people;its become increasingly difficult to get by today;primarily because of the Zero percent Interest rate policies of the Fed.

Food ,Gas and Utility costs continue to rise,while the Pension stream stays the same.

This is where the majority of Pay As you Go plans are going to be launched in the future now.

With increasing numbers of Baby Boomers retiring every single day and also the fact that most of the so-called Rebound Generation not getting Steady and well paying jobs;people in this demographic group are going to have no choice but to start cutting back on Unneccesary Luxuries and avoidable expenditures like Super-expensive Monthly plans.

Atleast that's the way I read the situation.

Let's see how things pan out!


David Wagner   Decoupling Wireless Protocols From Chips   7/31/2012 7:20:57 PM
Re: Better experience in communication
One of the things those land line companes are trying to do to help their bottom lines is get states to drop their requirements to serve rural areas. the cost of servcing and running those lines (where there is often no cell coverage) is a drag. At the same time, ihope governments don't give in and take valuable services away from people who happen to choose not to live in the burbs.
David Wagner   Decoupling Wireless Protocols From Chips   7/31/2012 6:26:16 PM
Re: Better experience in communication
@eethtworkz- Pay as you go is an interesting bird, at least in the US. 80% of new phone subscriptions are pay as you go. But nearly all of those are people activating phones or smart phones for the first time.

There aren't too many people switching from contracts to pay as you go. I can't honestly tell you the reason other than that I personally like my data plan and i don't want to lose it.

I also would rather pay a little more per month and know I won't get hit with a big charge on a busy month.

I can't say whether that is the reason, but it MY reason.

this might be the advantage pay as you go has though that might change the game.
eethtworkz   Decoupling Wireless Protocols From Chips   7/31/2012 4:52:10 PM
Re: Better experience in communication

How many companies are exclusive Landline providers today?

I don't know of anyone. This must be a business policy of the Major telecom providers to discourage Users from using landlines.

Why is that the case?

Most probably because Mobile Phone line networks cost less to maintain than Landline networks.

Atleast thats the way I look at it.


eethtworkz   Decoupling Wireless Protocols From Chips   7/31/2012 3:54:51 PM
Re: Better experience in communication


They just wanna make things harder and harder for us to go back to the Good Ol' ways!!

eethtworkz   Decoupling Wireless Protocols From Chips   7/31/2012 3:25:08 PM
Re: Better experience in communication


I am surprised given how intense the Recession has been to-date and especially since Pension payouts are'nt really getting any better[Thanks primarily to the Fed's Zero Interest rate policy),more people are'nt making the same decision you made here.

After all,180 Dolllars of savings made every month is a big deal,even here in America today .

Thanks for sharing your perspective!

SunitaT   Decoupling Wireless Protocols From Chips   7/31/2012 3:25:07 PM
Re: Re : Decoupling Wireless Protocols From Chips
Is the system something which has drawn a lot of attention from consumers? \

@Ashish, yes. Infact this is one of the start-ups which received funding from Intel. This technology definitely looks like promising technology. 

eethtworkz   Decoupling Wireless Protocols From Chips   7/31/2012 3:20:37 PM
Re: Can this reduce size of the Phones further?

Yes you are right!

That makes the most sense here.

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